Get organised before you digitise

Before you digitise, you will want to create a basic inventory of your organisation’s Queensland heritage collection materials. This will provide you with a master list, an overview of what you have and the various formats you will need to consider before you progress with selection and digitisation of individual pieces or collections.

If you already have an inventory list or an inventory database, read through this guide for helpful hints.

Where to start?

  • Check and organise your physical collections
  • Set up a master inventory master list  by using a spread sheet
  • Excel is an excellent tool to use. A spread sheet in Excel will allow you to add information easily and move information as needed. It also provides a great way to get statistics on what you have and what you plan to digitise. In your spread sheet, at a minimum, record the following information:
    • Collection or Accession Number
    • Collection Title
    • Description
    • Number of items, type of format, number of pages
    • Where the physical collection is located
    • Accession record information, including deed of gift
    • Copyright permissions
    • Digitised elsewhere?
    • Already digitised by your organisation?
    • Notes
  • Create separate work sheets in your master inventory spread sheet for the following:
    • Physical heritage collections
    • Born digital heritage collections (must have computer or device to view) – because there is no physical item to fall back on, these files are more at risk and need to be treated with extra care
    • Community heritage collections (do you store/house for others?)
    • Corporate Image files (keep these separate from your heritage collection materials)

Next steps:

  1. Set up a computer directory to house your master inventory list/spread sheets
  2. Update your master inventory list with each new donation or accession
  3. Watch the SLQ video to learn how to organise and properly preserve your born digital files
  4. Write a Digitisation Plan, learn about digitisation standards, provide training and set up computers with backup

Now prepare specific items for digitisation:

  1. Check to see if selected materials are digitised elsewhere (quick search in Google, Trove, SLQ catalogue, Libraries Australia, Text Queensland) – make notes on your master list
  2. Ensure that you have copyright permission to digitise and place online
  3. Do you own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder? Provide a note in your spread sheet about this.  Recommendation: use Creative Commons licence where you own copyright (retain copyright and make accessible)
  4. Note items to be digitised according to your Digitisation Plan on your master list
  5. Make copies of the master list for working files; keep the master protected.
  6. Set up separate computer directory folders for digitised files based on format. Note these computer locations in your spreadsheet.
  7. Ensure proper file storage and backup for your physical and digital files once your collection items are scanned. Also consider cloud storage as a secondary backup.
  8. Update your spread sheets after digitisation is complete

Additional resources:

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